Men’s Surrey League, Mitcham Common, 12 Jan 2019
Three runners in the first ten but it’s still third in the third fixture
Despite having three runners in the first ten, Kent AC ended up third in the third Surrey League fixture held on Mitcham Common. Although third, it was third by the narrowest of margins. We actually scored the same points as Thames, but as their last runner was two places in front of ours, we were classed as third. Unfortunately, from our point of view this fixture followed a similar pattern to the first two. Runners in the top ten, but Hercules Wimbledon’s impressive packing resulted in another comfortable win for them.
Although perhaps disappointed with the overall result some fine individual performances should be celebrated. Last week, running for his first claim club, Max Nicholls, had come an excellent second in the Kent County Championships. On Saturday he again recorded an impressive second place, losing out to a very accomplished runner, Thames new signing, Jamie Parkinson. He’s been the winner of the Varsity match for the last two seasons.
In the early stages Owen Hind went to the front and was pushing the pace. He was flanked by Max Nicholls and the eventual winner, Parkinson. During the second lap Parkinson eased to the front. Initially Max Nicholls was able to go with him but it wasn’t long before Parkinson had forced a sizeable gap which he was to hold until the finish. Max did well to maintain a gap between himself and pursuers for a good part of the final lap. When Parkinson broke away followed by Max Nicholls, Owen Hind was on his own for a while in third. He was being pursued by a group that was working together and close to home Owen was overtaken by Hercules Wimbledon’s first scorer. However, it was another good run by Owen – especially when he’d had far from ideal preparations – a nasty festive bug and very little running in the lead up to the race. He’s been sixth, second and now fourth in the league races this season. Not far behind Owen came John Gilbert in sixth place. Those who have watched a lot of John’s races are used to his usual tactic of getting to the front and pushing the pace. Here it was very different. He started conservatively and then moved right through the field. He looked as though he was on for fifth but he was overhauled near the finish by Belgrave’s, Paskar Owor, using speed that clearly hasn’t deserted him. Following on from his fifth in the County, another encouraging result for John.
Our fourth scorer was second claimer Chris McGuirk. Chris (19th) had run well for us at Wimbledon and this was another strong run. He’d given it a real go and was in a group just behind the leaders on the first lap. He went back a few places but then rallied and held his own. Both inside thirty were Chris Greenwood (28th) and Ben Harding (29th). Looking at Chris during the race his run could definitely come under the heading of battling performance. Ben used his trademark finish to squeeze inside thirty. Keeping close company at the finish were Dave Morgan and Dame Dibaba. They were (35th) and (36th) respectively. Dave started steadily and moved through. Dame apparently managed to take a tumble twice at the beginning of the race so unusually for him he was way down on the first lap. It was credit to him that he was able to work his way back. Our three runners who’d been so impressive in the New York Marathon were all running in the fixture. Sean Fitzpatrick claimed the honours for the first home of the trio. Pete Lighting was (57th) while Jonathan Tipper, having his firs cross- country race for a while, was (69th). Our tenth scorer was Niall Stewart (47th) – perhaps fitting that he should score after the County difficulty the previous week.
I commented last week on how we occupied a lot of places in the 50’s at the Kent County. At this week’s Surrey League there was a similar scenario with us having four runners in the 50’s. Dan Petit was (54th) and then in very close order Anthony Johnson (56th) Pete Lighting (57th) and James Bowler (58th)
It was encouraging that in this race we actually had three under 20’s running – first home of the trio was Joseph Yee. He’d perhaps gone out a little too hard, but it was still a very decent run.
Whilst Hercules Wimbledon had what turned out to be another comfortable victory, there are certainly positives we can take from the race. As referenced earlier, there were some fine individual performances and on this occasion the Kent B Team was some way ahead of their rivals. Let’s hope for the final fixture we can muster a strong team so we can at least go out on a bit of a high.
1 J Parkinson 26:33(THH); 2 Max Nicholls 26:55; 4 Owen Hind 27:06
6 John Gilbert 27:11
1 HW; 171 2 THH 246; 3 Ken 246; 4 GG 465; Belg 508……..